My name is Stephanie, and in May of 2020, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer at the age of 52. I had a complete hysterectomy in June with no complications. Thankfully, they caught the cancer early and I was told I had stage 1A.
However, the pathology showed a mismatch in my DNA and my doctor recommended genetic counseling for a possible Lynch Syndrome diagnosis. I met with a genetics counselor over Zoom and the doctor and decided to go ahead with the genetics test. The test came back as positive for Lynch Syndrome which gives me a higher than average chance of having colorectal cancer, along with other cancers. When I got the diagnosis, I decided to make sure I had a colonoscopy as soon as possible.
At the time I was 52 and I had already put off having a colonoscopy for 2 years.
I would have been happy to push it until after Covid, however with the Lynch diagnosis and endometrial cancer taken care of, I needed to make sure I was ok. I scheduled my colonoscopy for the beginning of September 2020 and they found a couple of polyps that they removed. One of the polyps was a bit concerning and was sent in for testing.
Over Labor Day weekend, my gastroenterologist called me with the news that the biopsy was indeed cancerous. She gave me the names and numbers of a surgeon and GI oncologist and since it was the holiday weekend told me to call them on Tuesday. I met with the oncologist and surgeon and it was agreed that since I have Lynch Syndrome, a total colectomy would help to significantly reduce my chance of recurrence. The following month (October 2020), I had the surgery. The pathology came back as high dysplasia indicating that all of the cancer had more than likely been removed when the biopsy was taken therefore no chemoradiation was necessary.
I thank God for the Lynch diagnosis because without it, I would not have scheduled a colonoscopy this past year.
My 9-year-old son, husband, and parents were so amazing during this time. While my son wanted to be with me to take care of mommy, he agreed to go to my parents while I recovered. He’s in a Catholic school so prayer is a large part of our life. He made sure to tell me that he prayed for me each day and continues to do so daily. My parents helped so much by working with him every day in his virtual learning environment and just being the best grandparents. My mom was able to come help for a few days while my son and his Papa played and had fun. My husband was a rock throughout this entire process. He went to doctor’s appointments with me, made me hot tea, and made sure I had everything I needed. Had it not been for Covid, I would have had the additional stress of trying to arrange his carpool, after-school activities, homework, and everything else that goes into a busy schedule.
I want others to know that with early detection, you can avoid so much pain and suffering. Had I waited longer, who knows how advanced the cancer would have been when I finally felt “safe” to have a colonoscopy. If you are waiting to get checked, please don’t – getting checked can mean the difference between life and death. Don’t wait to get screened because it can save you!